"A Big Promotion" for General Petraeus

In a press conference this morning, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that General David Petraeus will be replacing Admiral William Fallon to become the head of U.S. Central Command, or Centcom, which oversees military activity throughout the Middle East.

It is a "major promotion" in the words of several CNN pundits, for the man currently leading our wildly successful mission in Iraq.

Fallon, who resigned abruptly in March after Esquire quoted him saying that he was opposed to military aggression against Iran, had a notoriously bad relationship with Petraeus; at one point last March Fallon allegedly called him "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and said "I hate people like that." ("Bad relations?" one official told the Washington Post in September, "That's the understatement of the century.") The acrimony between the two had much to do with opposing ideas about how to move forward in Iraq -- but that conflict has clearly been resolved, what with the success of the surge and all.

Petraeus's nomination must be approved by the Senate -- a forgone conclusion -- after which he will be in charge, not only of the U.S.'s broader mission in Iraq (whatever that is), but the war in Afghanistan too. Because you know, if he can bring the magic of the surge to Afghanistan, democracy is as good as formed.

According to the Associated Press, "Gates said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other problems in the Central Command area of responsibility, demand knowledge of how to fight counterinsurgencies as well as other unconventional conflicts."

"I don't know anybody in the U.S. military better qualified to lead that effort," Gates said.

Be afraid.

(The AP has more.)

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